By Penny Richards
Hugh Johnson has been named as the recipient of the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award, jointly sponsored by the Institute of Masters of Wine and international trade publication The Drinks Business.
photo by Johann Bargeld
The citation on the certificate reads:
“ Nominated by a panel of prominent wine industry professionals and members of the Institute of Masters of Wine, this award recognizes an outstanding and inspirational figure in the world of wine whose enduring contribution spans a whole career. ”
Hugh Johnson is considered one of the world’s best-selling writers on wine, with total sales of about 16 million. His first book, Wine, was published in 1966 and established him as one of the foremost English gastronomic writers. In 1969 he was invited to write The World Atlas of Wine. Since 1977, he has annually produced Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book, which has now sold more than 12 million copies and appears in 13 languages.
From 1986 to 2001, Hugh Johnson served as a director of Bordeaux first-growth Château Latour. In 1990, he co-founded Royal Tokaji with Peter Vinding-Diers to revive the Aszú wines of the Tokaj region in Hungary. It became a private limited company in 1993. Hugh is joint owner of Royal Tokaji’s Mézes Mály Vineyard, one of Tokaj’s two great first growths, which he purchased in partnership with Royal Tokaji in 1993
Hugh was named a Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite by President Chirac of France in 2004. In 2006, he released “A Life Uncorked,” an intimate autobiographical tour decanting his life in the world of wine.
Hugh was named an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) by Queen Elizabeth II in the 2007 New Year’s Honours List for his services to winemaking and horticulture. For forty years he has written his celebrated garden diary (www.tradsdiary.com).
The award was presented at a ceremony at VinExpo, Bordeaux, on Tuesday ,16 June 2015. Patrick Schmitt MW, editor of the Drinks Business, introduced the award before the presentation by Sarah Jane Evans MW, Chairman of the Institute of Masters of Wine.
In her remarks, Sarah Jane Evans MW said: “Hugh Johnson’s contribution to the world of wine has been – as it continues to be – outstanding. He found new ways of communicating about wine, making wine accessible to consumers. What’s more, he is that rare person, a writer and commentator who has personally invested in the business of wine, and with great success. He is what in the wine world we need most: a generous friend and expert.”
On hearing the news, Hugh Johnson said: ‘No salute could give me more of a glow than one from the MWs – the gold standard of wine knowledge and appreciation. If it’s taken 55 years, it has all been fascinating, absorbing, even inebriating.’
Currently there are 322 Masters of Wine, working in 24 countries. The Membership encompasses winemakers, buyers, journalists, shippers, business owners, consultants, academics, and wine educators.
The Institute of Masters of Wine, which is a non-profit organisation, stands for excellence, interaction, and learning. The Institute, which has its headquarters in London, runs courses, events and examinations on four continents.
In addition to passing the Institute’s exams, Masters of Wine are required to sign the Code of Conduct and join the Institute before they are entitled to the initials ‘MW’. The Code of Conduct insists that Masters of Wine should act with honesty and integrity, and use every opportunity to share their understanding of wine with others.
Source: Institute of Masters of Wine, London, UK http://www.mastersofwine.org/
Follow Hugh Johnson https://twitter.com/littlestjames
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